Published Jan 01, 2006You could probably count on one hand the number of punk bands that have made a name for themselves and earned the respect and loyalty of their fans the old fashioned way: through perseverance, non-stop touring and adherence to a set of ideals. Hot Water Music is one of those bands. Without the benefit of radio or video play, bands like HWM, Fugazi, Avail and NoMeansNo continue to challenge authority and conventional thinking with their music and messages. And they've all done it without the benefit of huge record company finances.
But for Hot Water Music, things in that area are about to change with the release of their outstanding new and quite possibly best-ever record, A Flight and a Crash. After seven years, four full-length releases and an immeasurable number of seven-inches and EPs released through about a dozen different labels, the Gainesville, Florida-based quartet has joined the Epitaph label for the release of their next two records, with options for more.
According to vocalist/guitarist Chuck Ragan, it was simply a matter of needing the added push a larger label could give them. "The most important thing to us is getting the records out there and they can do that," Ragan offers, taking a break from dying his wife Samantha's hair. "We know that Hot Water Music isn't for everybody and we're totally fine with that, we'd just like the chance for people to hear it who normally wouldn't be able to find it."
For the band, the notion of jumping to a major label wasn't even one they could fathom, so when the next best thing presented itself major label power with the independence they are accustomed to they couldn't refuse. "We like our freedom," Ragan notes. "Epitaph felt more down home than some of the small punk labels we've worked with. They are such an incredible, hard working punk rock label and that's why we're with them. They wanted to do it more than anyone else did and that's what we wanted. We just wanted someone who was willing to work as hard as we were on this new record and they're it."